The greatest show in football is just a few days away! Every football fan, even if we are Liverpool supporters here, for close to two months every four years can switch the Red of Anfield and cheer on our national side, as long as they make it to the World Cup.
Of course, we can do our bit by supporting Liverpool players who are going to the greatest event ever and the bone of contention for this piece is the fear that the “World Cup” curse might hit one of our best players.
Every four years something happens to a Liverpool player, or well, something terrible takes place for the club. In recent memory, we can highlight Luis Suarez going all cannibalistic on Giorgio Chiellini and getting banned from international football.
That was in the 2014 World Cup when Uruguay faced Italy and Suarez did what he did to Branislav Ivanovic and faced the ire of FIFA and well the English media.
However, that was not the end of it all. The subsequent weeks led us to sell our star player to Barcelona and well, we never recovered from that transfer as Brendan Rodgers brought in Mario Balotelli and the likes.
Off went Suarez, our team and well even Rodgers had to ultimately pay the price for this mini-disaster which we only seem to be recovering now.
2010: Fernando Torres and his injury concerns
Cue to 2010 and the golden era of Spanish football. Fernando Torres was a beast when he swapped Atletico Madrid for Liverpool and he almost led us to the title in 2009. The 2010 season saw him end the campaign with a knee injury but he still made it to the Spanish squad for the World Cup.
Try as he might, that Torres was not the same as the one who cut through defenses as a child rip presents open on Christmas Day.
Even though the Spanish side had won the World Cup, there was something missing from Torres and he was spectacularly sold in the winter window in 2011 when we replaced him with Andy Carroll.
Even that move did not work out for us as we paid a record fee for the Englishman and he struggled to fit into our grand scheme of things.
Torres did manage to win a lot of silverware with Chelsea but this was not the player that terrorised defences and scored jaw-dropping goals from every possible angle, oh no sir.
2002: El Hadji Diouf and his scoring rate
This also has to go down as one of the worst pieces of business we have ever done. Diouf had just come off a great campaign taking Senegal to the World Cup and Gerard Houllier signed the striker as he hoped Diouf would lead us to glory.
It did seem to work out fine for us as the Senegal national side reached the quarter-final of the tournament and even defeated France, the reigning champions.
Diouf even scored a brace on his debut at Anfield but that was that for the “striker”.
Quick question, how many strikers can go the entire season without scoring a goal? Well, Diouf certainly did that in his second full season with us.
A big fat zero! From 33 games in all competitions. That’s what his return was and it should come as no surprise that the “star” was shipped out to Bolton by the end of the 2003-04 season.
2018: Who is next?
So I come back to the starting point of the piece. The greatest show in football is here but there is a real fear that some Liverpool star might have a poor tournament or even worse pick up an injury that will define his career at Anfield in the wrong manner or even be sold if he has a good tournament.
Mohamed Salah has been rushed back from his injury ( Hey Sergio Ramos, stop watching WWE) and we could see him play the last group game and even face Spain in the knockout round.
Jordan Henderson isn’t going to be the captain of England as for some reason Harry Kane has gotten the armband.
Roberto Firmino is a player that doesn’t catch the eye all the time but he could be the one flashing about in Russia and crazy rumours may come flying in about him wanting to go to Spain or something similar.
Hell, Simon Mignolet might become the first-choice keeper for Belgium and take the team all the way to the trophy and then we will get fans saying “Mig should have been the number one all season.”
No thank you, the World Cup has provided us with great memories like that glorious handball from Suarez against Ghana or Andres Iniesta scoring the winning goal for Spain but for every great tournament, it is Liverpool that suffers and I shudder to think about what might happen post-Russia.
Liverpool star cuts short international duty after picking up rib injury
The report claims that the centre-back has returned to the club after being ruled out of the friendly against Belgium.
A statement from the Dutch team (h/t Liverpool Echo) said:
“After consultation, it was decided to use the player only for the game against Germany.”
The report adds that Liverpool will assess the injury, and we will then get an idea of the extent of his problem.
Van Dijk had a rib problem earlier in the season and was rested in our Carabao Cup loss against Chelsea. The Dutchman has been reliable at the back and is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s next game is against Huddersfield on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see who will play in the heart of the defence.
Jurgen Klopp can call upon Dejan Lovren or Joel Matip to partner Joe Gomez in the back as the match against the Terriers should not be the most difficult outing.
Gomez has been the other centre-back who has been brilliant for us this season and in all probability, Lovren should partner the English youngster.
Liverpool’s next tough game is against Arsenal on 3 November, and hopefully, Van Dijk will be fit for the clash at the Emirates.
“Exactly what I expected” – Liverpool’s summer signing opens up on his time at Anfield so far
Shaqiri also has a couple of starts to his name but is hopeful of more chances as the season is still in its infancy. The 27-year-old was speaking to Aargauer Zeitung (h/t Mirror) and added that he is waiting for his opportunity to shine.
“You don’t have to keep me happy.
“The process has worked well for me so far. Sure, every professional wants to play. I do too, but there are still a lot of games to come.
“On top of that, you just need to look and acknowledge what has been done at Liverpool recently. A lot of people did a good job.
“That’s why everything hasn’t been turned upside down overnight.”
The Swiss star was aware he would have to work hard to gain a foothold at Liverpool too.
“What is happening is exactly what I expected. I decided to move to Liverpool fully aware that I would have a harder time in a club of this standing than, for example, other clubs that tried to help me.”
Shaqiri has looked decent in all the games he has played and should get a few starts given we don’t face tough opposition in the coming weeks.
The Reds take on Huddersfield, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff in the three games after the international break, and this would be the ideal time to start the 27-year-old.
Out of favour Liverpool youngster wanted by Everton – Toffees willing to let go of Turkish striker
The 23-year-old isn’t a part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans, as per the report, and Everton boss Marco Silva is interested in the Belgian striker.
Origi was on loan at Wolfsburg last season but failed to light it up at the Bundesliga club. The 23-year-old has had a tough time in recent seasons at Liverpool and hasn’t played a single minute for the team this season.
The report claims that Everton are open to letting Cenk Tosun move to Besiktas if they can sign Origi from Liverpool.
The Belgian was linked to a couple of clubs in the summer window but Liverpool didn’t sell him as they weren’t getting what they wanted for the striker.
With Daniel Sturridge back in form and Roberto Firmino leading the line, Origi would find it tough to get first-team minutes at Anfield.
We also have youngsters such as Ben Woodburn and Dominic Solanke trying to break into the first-team, thus adding more competition for the forward slots at the club.
It will be interesting to see if Everton follow up their interest in the winter window. There haven’t been many occasions of a player swapping clubs in Merseyside with the last one being Abel Xavier.
Origi does need to move away for more minutes on the pitch, and joining a new club should be his aim when the transfer window opens.
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